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Queen insists she’s not too old at 93 to plant a tree

The Queen, 93, was visiting the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

The Queen during a visit to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) Park Farm in Cambridge (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Queen during a visit to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) Park Farm in Cambridge (Chris Jackson/PA)

The Queen insisted she was up to a key part of her duties as she took hold of a shovel to plant a tree herself.

The 93-year-old, when asked whether she would perform the task on her own, said: “No, no, I’m still perfectly capable of planting a tree.”

She made the remarks while on a visit to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) near Cambridge to celebrate its centenary.

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The Queen said she was still capable of tree planting Jackson/PA)

She planted the tree to mark the occasion, moving some soil onto the plant’s roots in an already-dug hole.

The Queen had earlier viewed an exhibition celebrating 100 years of crop research and toured a glasshouse.

One of the centre’s longest-serving employees Teresa Stratton handed the Queen a posy of chrysanthemums, roses and wheat before the monarch left in a waiting Bentley.

Ms Stratton, 58, who has worked at NIAB for 41 years, said she told the Queen of other crops that NIAB is working on.

“We’re the only place in the UK that does grape research and she was very interested,” said Ms Stratton.

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The Queen was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the site (Chris Jackson/PA)

“She told us they were growing vines at Windsor and although she probably wouldn’t drink the wine she was quite interested in it.”

Chief executive Dr Tina Barsby said: “I mentioned that English wines were becoming more and more popular and better quality, and she said she doesn’t drink wine but she hears they’re very good.”

Dr Barsby described NIAB’s role as the “plant variety police”.

The Queen first visited in 1969 to mark its 50th anniversary.

After leaving NIAB she had lunch at Queen’s College University of Cambridge, of which she is a patron, then went to the Royal Papworth Hospital to officially open its new site in Cambridge

She was accompanied by the Duchess of Gloucester as she toured Britain’s leading heart and lung hospital, speaking to staff in the critical care unit and patients on a post-surgery ward.

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The Queen at Royal Papworth Hospital (Joe Giddens/PA)

Children waved flags as the Queen arrived, and crowds of hospital staff gathered in the corridors with their camera phones aloft to catch a glimpse of her.

There were loud cheers and applause as she unveiled a plaque in the hospital’s main entrance to mark the formal opening.

The Royal Papworth treats more than 100,000 patients from across the country each year and carried out the UK’s first successful heart transplant in 1979.

PA

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